Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska Sens. Begich, Murkowski split on financial reform bill

FAIRBANKS - Alaska's senators are split on the sweeping financial reform bill the Senate is expected to debate today. While senators on both sides of the aisle believe reform is necessary to prevent another financial crisis like the one that hit Wall Street in 2008, they disagree about what to do.

Democrats are looking to use the legislation to regulate banks, while Republicans are arguing against the consumer protection provisions championed by President Obama.

Republicans voted for three days to block discussion of the bill until Democrats threatened to hold an all-night session to force debate about the bill.

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich criticized Republicans for blocking debate.

"Those blocking debate of this bill should be ashamed of themselves for the missed opportunity to hold Wall Street accountable," Begich said in a statement. "We should, at a minimum, have the chance to discuss ways to make sure the reckless and risky investments that cost Americans billions of dollars and millions of jobs doesn't happen again."

Begich promised to continue working on legislation that will create jobs in Alaska and the rest of the country.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who voted against moving the bill to the floor, said she did not want to see the Senate pass a bill "simply for the sake of passing something."

She said Congress must remember that any bill will go beyond Wall Street, affecting how every American gets credit for purchases such as cars or homes.

"I want to ensure that we do not pass legislation that will make it harder for Alaskans to access credit and capital needed to create jobs," Murkowski said in a statement. "We're close, but the Democrats' bill still needs work. I believe, however, that we can get there if both sides continue the negotiations. This issue is too important to allow politics or partisanship to get in the way."

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Source: By Chris Freiberg. Originally published by April 28, 2010